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The drought that has gripped Kansas around the neck is making it ever harder to breathe in Marion County, too. Even though we’ve been included in Gov. Bill Graves’ officially designated drought area for a couple of weeks already, we’re still better off than much of the state. For that we’re grateful-but cautiously so, given the long-range forecasts.

Though some cities in our state are facing water restrictions, Hillsboro, Marion and Peabody are still safely supplied, thanks to ample water in Marion Reservoir. Steven Garrett, Hillsboro city administrator, says the city has been able to keep up with the growing demand for water as the dry weather continues, but the demand is significant.

Even a little rain makes a difference. Last week, when Hillsboro received almost an inch, Garrett said the local demand for water dropped from what had been running at 1 million gallons a day to only 500,000 gallons. That means, he concluded, that half of the city’s demand is going toward irrigating lawns and gardens.

That’s a lot of irrigation. It’s hard to envision the possibility of seeing some of the beautiful lawns around town turning brown. But on the bigger scale of things, that will be a small disappointment compared to the economic impact for all of us if fall crops are lost.

In times like these, we realize how fragile our livelihood is, and how dependent we truly are on a power far higher than our own.-DR

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